Christmas in Illinois

Our lives have been very hectic over the past few weeks, and I know I’m posting about Christmas super late, but I figured it was better than not posting at all. My husband and I were so happy to have the opportunity to spend an ENTIRE week in Illinois, with his family, over Christmas. We haven’t been able to see his family very often because of the distance and our crazy work schedules. So we were very excited when all the details came together to allow us to go. Phil comes from a family of 9 kids (one brother and soon to be sister-in-law weren’t able to make it for the Holidays) and I absolutely love the traditions and family time that we were able to partake in. We enjoyed a few different fun events, but also spent a lot of much needed time just relaxing and hanging out.

The day that we arrived, Phil’s mom and the rest of the family threw us a beautiful baby shower in their new home. It was co-ed and so fun to see friends and family. We felt so loved and were so excited to receive so many things for our little sweet pea!

On Christmas Eve, we all dressed up and Phil’s parents took us all out to eat at a little Italian restaurant in town and then we went to Christmas Eve service that evening. Each year after the service it is a tradition to open one present-our Christmas pjs-and then wear them to watch Christmas movies while eating cookies and drinking hot chocolate. This year we watched White Christmas and Holiday Inn and some of the younger kids slept in the living room.

On Christmas morning we all slept in a bit and then gathered to open Christmas presents. Each year all of the siblings (and in-laws) do a name exchange and then we each get gifts for the name that we have; Christmas stockings are also a tradition, as well as Mom and Dad getting us all books each year. The rest of the day was a mixture of relaxing and playing games…and then in the late afternoon, Phil’s sister took us to do a “maternity shoot”, which was really a cover for his brother Matt to ask Bekah to marry him!!!! She said yes of course, and we are all so thrilled to be gaining another sister in June!!

The rest of the week in Illinois was very laid back. We spent time outside, played games, and watched more Christmas movies. The day before we left we had a mini-Italian feast (Phil’s family has a tradition of having a HUGE Italian feast the Sunday before Christmas each year, but because of the timing this year we did a less extravagant feast with just the family) and spent the evening all together. Phil and I headed back to the airport early the next morning, and as usual it was hard to leave everyone and say goodbye, but a little less difficult knowing we will all see each other again in February.